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As the culmination of its $1.4 billion “Return to Flight” effort, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Discovery into orbit. Almost immediately, the shuttle shed pieces of insulation and hit a bird. President George W. Bush watched the launch on a small television and clapped his hands, and NASA grounded all future shuttle flights.NewsdayBoston.comThe Washington PostThe Washington PostRussia offered to send a rich person to orbit the moon in exchange for $100 million.The GuardianNew Mexico announced its first case of bubonic plague in two years. “Plague,” said a New Mexico man who contracted the illness in 2002, “changes your life forever.”TheNewMexicoChannel.comThe U.S. House of Representatives voted down CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, even though it was already approved by the Senate. House leaders then held the vote open for forty-seven minutes until they had changed enough Republican votes to approve the agreement. Democracy NowA study found that 43 percent of the House and Senate members who have left public office since 1998 are registered lobbyists. Washington PostThe Boy Scout National Jamboree was held at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. The Senate passed the Support Our Scouts Act of 2005, guaranteeing the Boy Scouts the right to use federal land whether the organization discriminates against atheists and gays or not. The Senate also noted that holding the Jamboree on a military base gave U.S. soldiers the opportunity to practice the “preparation, logistics, and leadership” needed in combat. At the Jamboree four scout leaders were electrocuted while setting up a tent, and three hundred people were treated for heat-related symptoms. In California, a scoutmaster and a thirteen-year-old scout were killed by lightning.CNN.comSWNebr.netWBOC16Thomas.loc.gov
American forces killed eleven Iraqi militants near Iraq’s border with Syria,BBC Newsa suicide bomber killed twenty-five Iraqi army recruits northwest of Mosul,BBC Newsa suicide bombing at a Baghdad hospital killed at least five people,BBC Newsand a bomb killed two Britons in Basra.BBC NewsIraq’s Prime Minister Ibrahim al Jaafari called for the prompt withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country; General George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said that troop withdrawal could begin by spring 2006 “if the political process continues to go positively.”Democracy NowKing Fahd died.New York TimesA massive dust cloud thousands of miles across was heading from the Sahara Desert toward the United States,CNN.comand the Pentagon was stalling to avoid the release of more photographs and videos from Abu Ghraib prison. The videos are said to show young boys shrieking as they are anallyraped.Editor & PublisherGermanarchaeologists reconstructed a 28,000-year-old stone phallus nearly eight inches in length. There was evidence, they said, that the phallus had been used as a tool.BBC NewsPresident Bush’sfavorite dirty joke was reported to be: “The only time I ever hit two good balls is when I step on a rake.”The FixThe Senate went into recess, and George W. Bush appointed John Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations.The New York TimesThe Bush Administration started referring to the War on Terror as “the global struggle against violent extremism,”Democracy Nowand Karl Rove received a $4,000 raise.Democracy Now
In New York City, subway crime dropped 23 percent in the wake of random bag searches.WNBC.comUkraine fired all of its traffic policemen; traffic was not noticeably affected.Motoring.co.zaBritish police had arrested nineteen people believed to be connected to the London bombings.BBC NewsA huge patch of ice was discovered on Mars,BBC Newsand an object possibly larger than Pluto was discovered beyond the orbit of Neptune. “Someone should have found this before,” said an astronomer.New ScientistCanada and Denmark were arguing over the claim to Hans Island, an uninhabited one-half-square-mile of land 682 miles south of the North Pole,CNN.comand ultra-nationalists in Israel held a “pulsa denura” ceremony to call on the angels of destruction to kill Ariel Sharon.HaaretzAn executive at Coca-Cola said that the company would soon start producing a soda that burns calories,Ad Weekand monsoons in India killed at least eight hundred people and scattered the carcasses of seventeen thousand goats around Bombay.BBC NewsOfficials in Senegal, concerned about the encroaching desert, were considering a proposal to plant a three-mile-wide, 4,375-mile-long wall of trees.ReutersA Nebraska man was charged with having sex with the thirteen-year-old girl whom he had wed legally in Kansas,APand a homeless man in Nashville, Tennessee, confessed to strangling two other homeless men. “I got addicted,” he explained, “to sucking the souls out of people.”Local6.comIn Pinetown, South Africa, two little boys found a fetus without legs or a head; police said that they found no animal saliva on the fetus.The MercuryKansas police took away, then returned, the left foot of an amputee named Ezekiel Rubottom, who had been keeping his foot in a bucket on a friend’s porch. “It’s all good,” said Rubottom.Lawrence Journal-WorldFlorida was infested with iguanas,St. Petersburg Timesan Australianeel nicknamed Eddie was seen swallowing a goose,Practical Fishkeepingand British zoo authorities sent a parrot into seclusion after the bird told two policemen, a mayor, and a vicar to fuck off.News.com.au
More from Paul Ford:
Years ago, I lived in Montana, a land of purple sunsets, clear streams, and snowflakes the size of silver dollars drifting through the cold air. There were no speed limits and you could legally drive drunk. My small apartment in Missoula had little privacy. In order to write, I rented an off-season fishing cabin on Rock Creek, a one-room place with a bed and a bureau. I lacked the budget for a desk. My idea was to remove a sliding door from a closet in my apartment and place it over a couple of hastily cobbled-together sawhorses.
Annual premium on a $6,000 life insurance policy for a champion German shepherd:
Astronomers discovered a pulsar called a superbubble, which spins 716 times per second.
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari told reporters that his wife “belonged to” his kitchen.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”